New Cardiovascular Observation Unit Open at NGMC Gainesville

Published: Wednesday, March 27, 2019

GAINESVILLE, Ga. – Heart patients at Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) Gainesville now have a brand-new area where they can be observed and monitored by medical staff. The Cardiovascular Observation Unit (COU) opened last week is dedicated to diagnosing, treating and monitoring patients with heart conditions, as well as determining whether they need to be admitted to the hospital. The unit has already cared for 74 patients.

            “The Cardiovascular Observation Unit is another way we’re providing specialized care to heart patients who have not been admitted to the hospital,” said Mark Leimbach, MD, interventional cardiologist at The Heart Center of NGMC and medical director of the COU at NGMC Gainesville. “Often patients need to be kept under observation for a period of time to see if their conditions improve or deteriorate. The COU’s dedicated medical staff members are trained to spot potential problems and address them if needed, as well as determine whether a patient is ready to go home or needs to be admitted.”

            Patients who arrive at the Emergency Department (ED) and are being evaluated for non-life threatening heart conditions may be transferred to the COU for additional testing and observation. A patient who has had a cardiac procedure may be placed in the COU to monitor his or her progress during recovery, or a patient arriving from another hospital for treatment may stay in the COU for observation before being admitted to the hospital.

            The creation of the COU at NGMC Gainesville follows the growing trend nationwide to incorporate similar units into overall hospital care. By monitoring and treating patients intensively in the COU, staff can prevent problems and expedite care – helping people get better, faster. These units can also help reduce wait times in the ED and prevent some inpatient admissions by facilitating efficient, quality care that allows for fewer patients to have to stay in the hospital overnight.

            Learn more about Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s Heart & Vascular Services at



Since 1951, Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) has been on a mission of improving the health of our community in all we do. With hospitals located in Gainesville, Braselton and Barrow – the three NGMC campuses have a total of 713 beds and more than 800 medical staff members representing more than 50 specialties. NGMC is part of Northeast Georgia Health System, a non-profit that cares for more than 1 million people across more than 18 counties. Learn more at